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University of Hull to tackle alcohol addiction by investing in PhD scholarships


3 scholarships available. Applications close 25 April 2019. 

Committed to improving the health of the region and beyond, the University of Hull is investing in 3 PhD scholarships to explore the impact of exercise on people who drink alcohol to excess.

The investment in health research is part of the University’s wider £3-million investment in 54 PhD scholarships to tackle a range of issues from the effect of physical activity on the quality of life for cancer survivors to the impact of virtual reality on learning. 

In England, 10 million people drink at levels that increase their risk of physical or psychological damage or injury, with 600,000 in need of treatment for alcohol use disorders. 

Although overall alcohol consumption has declined in recent years, many indicators of alcohol-related conditions and psychological damage have increased. With excessive alcohol consumption causally linked to over 200 health conditions there are now over 1 million alcohol-related hospital admissions and an increase in alcohol-specific deaths. 

Thomas Phillips, Professor of Nursing (Addictions) in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Hull, said:


“The University is keen to attract ambitious students to the University to work with us on specific health projects that can make a difference to the lives of families in our local community and beyond who are living with alcohol addiction as well as driving improvements to healthcare and support that will benefit future generations.”

The consequences of excessive drinking disproportionately affect socio-economically deprived communities, which suffer greater alcohol-related mortality and morbidity. Communities in the local area specifically face greater prevalence of alcohol disorders, and increasing alcohol-related admissions, alcoholic liver disease, alcohol-related cardiovascular disease and related mortality. 

Interventions designed to reduce alcohol-related harm have largely focussed on brief interventions and psychosocial treatments; however, the impact of brief interventions is limited, and four out of five people in need fail to access treatment. 

Professor Phillips, who has developed expertise in alcohol treatment and research over the last 25 years, said:


“We need to develop interventions and care that will sustain long-term benefits for individuals accessing advice and treatment. We already know that physical activity has significant health benefits and has been shown to improve health outcomes in a variety of conditions. But there is limited understanding of the impact of physical activity on individuals who drink alcohol excessively.

“We want to gain a greater understanding on how exercise might help those who drink excessively and ultimately reduce the impact on health services.”

Successful candidates will join an interdisciplinary research team based in the Faculty of Health Sciences where there is a vibrant postgraduate community supported by a Methods Hub and Trials Unit within the Institute for Clinical and Applied Health Research.

In addition to these scholarships addressing excessive alcohol consumption, other PhD research is set to explore the impact of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle on the quality of life for cancer survivors. In non-health related subjects, additional PhD opportunities will focus on driving improvements for the offshore wind industry and indigenous language projects with the British Library.

Developing scientific insights and innovative treatments to benefit patients is ongoing at the University of Hull. 

Our Institute for Clinical and Applied Health Research brings together expertise from Hull York Medical School and the School of Health and Social Work to build on our existing success in globally-significant applied healthcare research. 

The University’s health research is already a major strength, helping to address critical health issues in our region and beyond, with 87% of the University’s ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent'.

Our PhD students are already working with global medical technology giant Smith & Nephew, which combines the brightest minds with the finest R&D facilities to drive research into pioneering approaches to advanced wound care.

The Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre has brought together a group of high-profile world-class researchers here to support those people with progressive, life-limiting illness – to help them to live well through the control of their symptoms, support for psychological, social and spiritual concerns, and care for their families and friends.

The University of Hull is also helping to ensure pregnant women and new parents get the best care possible when it comes to their mental health. Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Professor of Midwifery, Julie Jomeen, has led researchers and specialist nurses from the region’s NHS trust to provide a better service for women and their families.

Building on the University’s strong track record of research into how cancer is understood, diagnosed and treated, Yorkshire Cancer research awarded the University of Hull and Hull York Medical School a grant of over £5 million to tackle cancer inequalities in the region.

Our world-class health research was showcased at the British Science Festival, hosted at the University of Hull last year, celebrating new perspectives and innovation in the world of science.


Full-time UK/EU and International PhD scholarships will include tuition fees and maintenance (£15,009 in 2019/20) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress. 

Part-time UK/EU and International PhD scholarships will include tuition fees and maintenance (£9,005 in 2019/20) for five years, depending on satisfactory progress

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend an interview the week commencing 20th May 2019. Scholarships will start on 16thSeptember 2019

Interested applicants should contact Professor Thomas Phillips (PhD Cluster Lead) ( for additional details. 

Find out more

Find out more about applying for our postgraduate courses and details of our scholarships, including closing dates.


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